New York: New York State has joined New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon and California in easing the requirement for mask or proof of vaccination in indoor settings as daily new Covid – 19 cases plummeted recently.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday February 9 that statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine requirement will be lifted starting this Thursday and will remain optional for businesses, local governments and counties to enforce.
The mask-or-vaccine protocol was implemented on December 10 as the Omicron variant caused a spike of cases in the state and extended to Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
With case counts plummeting and hospitalisations sharply declining, this temporary measure is no longer needed statewide, said Hochul.
Still, mask requirements will remain in place in certain high-density settings like hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, transportation and other related entities.
“While we’re moving in the right direction, this pandemic isn’t over,” the New York Governor added.
Hochul said the mask requirement in schools would be reassessed in early March based on public health data.
The announcement was welcomed by business representatives in New York state.
“Governor Hochul’s decision to allow expiration of mask mandates in the workplace will encourage the return of employees to the office and accelerate the city’s economic recovery. It is the right call,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of Partnership for New York City.
“We hope new policies will encourage New Yorkers to continue to support New York businesses still recovering from the pandemic,” said Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of Business Council of New York state.
New York state added 6,041 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday with the positivity rate at 3.67 per cent, according to the newly-issued data by the state. Statewide Covid – 19 cases fell as much as 93 per cent since the peak on January 7 and Covid-19 hospitalisations dropped 63 per cent in the state since the peak on January 12.